Lightwire offsetting carbon emissions
Brendan Ritchie
Brendan Ritchie
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Lightwire’s Carbon Offsets

Lightwire takes further action against climate change

Lightwire has made the call to cover the cost of carbon offsets on all work flights. This option has been selected on an ad-hoc basis by various team members up to this point, but this decision now removes any remaining ambiguity.

Why do we need to do something about our carbon offsets?

Lightwire clocks up a fairly big number of air miles (or kilometres) for a company of our size because:

  • We have staff located across a number of cities in three countries
  • People in key roles need to get face time with clients and team members
  • The option to take alternative forms of transport, a train for example (which emits about 90% less carbon than air travel), is not an option between Brisbane and Auckland

Air travel is a fast-growing contributor to global emissions because the number of flights booked each year continues to increase at a rapid rate. If global commercial aviation were a country in the national CO2 emissions standings, the industry would rank number six in the world between Japan and Germany. It is also an industry where technology changes do not look likely to decrease emissions. Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer, forecasts that the number of commercial aircraft in operation will double to 48,000 by 2038, and they will all look and operate much like the planes we fly in today.

Reports from Qantas and Jetstar suggest that less than 10% of flight bookings have any level of offset selected or check out this report from the BBC. Perhaps we can encourage other businesses to help change that.

What have we done to date?

We have already planted more than 3,500 trees since 2018 and have committed to stepping that up by planting a further 22,500 trees over the next 4.5 years (read more about the tree planting initiative here). Given a single fully grown tree absorbs about 48 pounds of carbon in a year, we are looking at building up towards a 120,000-pound annual offset.

Other initiatives include:

  • Fruit delivered in reusable bamboo bags
  • Sparkling water dispenser added to HO
  • Reusable takeaway lunch containers available
  • Soft plastics now recycled through Countdown
  • Keep Cups now in general use after being gifted to employees
  • Solar power option being investigated
  • Eco-friendly system developed for presentation documents
  • Re-usable straws distributed
  • Nespresso coffee capsules recycled, and home “donations” welcomed
  • Plastic courier envelopes replaced with compostable bags
  • Organic Food Waste Collection introduced
  • Embraced video calls as an alternative to face to face meetings where viable
  • More and more of our team are working from home, which both cuts down on emissions and adds more productive hours to each day.

What’s next?

All flights booked for work travel will now need to have carbon offset selected to comply with company policy.

Andrew Johnson, MD of London Green Group which owns Lightwire, deserves credit here. Another good call made based on it being the right thing to do.

Carbon offset options are not perfect, but in conjunction with our other efforts, we hope to further reduce our impact on the environment and continue our march towards Lightwire becoming carbon neutral.

Do you have any suggestions on how we can cover the costs of carbon offsets? We would love to hear them!

Brendan Ritchie

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